Medical Internships in Cape Town

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VACorps Medical Internship
VACorps Medical Internship
Medical Internship in Cape Town
Medical Internship in Cape Town

About

If you’re considering a career as a doctor, physicians assistant, or nurse, VACorps offers an excellent selection of medical internships in South Africa. As a medical intern in our program, you will be working alongside qualified healthcare professionals at a community healthcare clinic in the public sector. South Africa faces many serious healthcare issues, including high rates of HIV/AIDS, TB, and trauma. There is a high demand for primary healthcare in low-income areas of the city and many public hospitals and clinics lack appropriate funding to address the needs of Cape Town most vulnerable communities. The overall experience will give you first-hand access to South Africa’s public healthcare system and will teach you a wide-range of skills that you’ll carry with you for a lifetime. Our medical internships are specifically well-suited to students in a pre-medical, pre-PA, or nursing school students. Contact admissions@vacorps.com to learn more about our most popular internship.

Highlights
  • Placement in an outpatient healthcare clinic
  • 24/7 On-the-Ground Support
  • Program Housing with fellow medical interns
  • Weekly Language Lessons
  • Mentorship from a local doctor

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.14 Rating
based on 7 reviews
  • Growth 8.9
  • Support 8.9
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 8.4
  • Safety 8.6
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
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Laura
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My internship

I chose Cape Town because it was a place I wanted to be for a long time seeing it is so far, not only this but I wanted to immerse myself within the multitude of different cultures that would surround me. I decided to do an internship to gain further experience in my field of study; nursing. My internship at Heideveld health clinic has taught me so many different skills I would never have a chance to practice in the US. What I loved the most about Cape Town was meeting so many new people from all over the world, whether they were apart of VaCorps or not. This is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been, and I was able to explore and adventure on top of learning new skills. I always loved how Cape Town provides endless adventures to take part in, such as hiking, surfing, etc. I've made so many lifelong friendships here which is what makes it so sad to leave. VaCorps did a great job in introducing each of the intern groups and setting up planned events. I loved how every Friday there was always something new and exciting planned out for us and more people to meet as we arrived at these excursions. Furthermore, after participating in the Mozambique trip, I was able to create more friendships with people I had yet to meet. Not only this but also I was able to adventure more and discover an entirely different part of Africa, the entire experience was surreal; from scuba diving to going on my first safari, there was never a dull day. I will definitely miss Cape Town and all it has to offer but I will be back soon! I am so grateful to have taken part in this opportunity to experience various different cultures and health care systems. I will be able to take this knowledge back to the US with me to further enhance my nursing studies. I am also so grateful for the VaCorps staff for making it so easy to adjust to the different lifestyle and few culture shocks.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
It was a great internship experience, definitely be open to learning new things.
Default avatar
Samantha
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sam at Heideveld Health Clinic

I was done with my undergrad but wanted to boost my resume for graduate school. I was afraid I had missed this opportunity but was delighted once I found VACorp. The process was insanely easy and fast. I was expected several weeks of dialogue before hearing any news about even accepted into the program. By one month, I already knew when and where I would be working. Everyone here has been so helpful and genuinely wanted to best (and safest) experience possible. I did not feel belittled or like I was at summer camp while here. I was given tips and resources for what I would do and given free rein. I am honored to have met the fellow interns, locals, and co-workers. I have so many experiences that I can take with me to help me in my academic and personal life thanks to VACorp.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take initiative and learn from the locals. They have so much experience to provide.
Default avatar
Eleanor
4/10
No, I don't recommend this program

VACorps

To say that my experience with VACorps was a positive experience would be a lie. I have traveled extensively in my lifetime, but never struggled more than when I came to South Africa to complete an internship through this company. Before I came, I was told there would be many different avenues by which I would be supported by the staff whether it came to safety, housing, travel accommodations, etc. However, upon arrival, this was not the case. I was told there would be a shuttle service that would transport me to and from my internship in a township each day (very far from where I lived, and quite a dangerous area to travel to alone if you are a foreigner), but upon arrival, I was told they had shut down the shuttle service and that I would have to uber each day to my site with other interns. Due to the timing of arrivals, I was alone many days and had to pay upwards of R300 a day ($27.50) to travel to my internship. Once there, the staff seemed to have no idea who I was or why I as there as if VACorps had never talked to them beforehand. Additionally, there were other interns from other organizations at that site which made shadowing and learning a competitive endeavor. Ultimately, there was never anything for me to do or learn and the doctors did not enjoy having so many interns there getting in the way of things.
If you intern through VACorps, you will find that you are spending a very large sum of money without knowing where that money actually goes. The actual support you receive from the staff is very limited and you are ultimately on your own most of the time. Paying for this program is paying for a community of other interns, which has been a positive of the experience, but that is about it. I sent an email to my coordinators letting them know of my frustrations and never once received a response to the email. I was left scrambling trying to find something to do here for the remainder of my time in Cape Town, and luckily found a private hospital to take me on as a shadow student, but some of my friends were not that lucky.
Coming to South Africa is worth it- I have done and seen the most incredible things during my two months here, but do NOT come here through VACorps. It is not worth the money, the support you receive from the staff once you get here is completely lackluster, and you will most likely have issues with your internship.

What would you improve about this program?
There needs to be better communication between VACorps and the sites they send their interns to. The staff also needs to be much more accessible and willing to help interns if their internship is not what they wanted it to be. I have met too many interns (including myself) that wanted to switch internships and were told that the staff would "look into it" but never heard another word about it or was told it was their fault for not working hard enough at the site to enjoy it. There needs to be better group activities that make the price of the experience even close to worth it. The staff also should actually help interns instead of referring them constantly to their website "zendesk" which is not nearly as helpful at helping interns find resources as they think.
Response from VACorps

Dear Ellie,

We are so disappointed to hear that you had an unpleasant experience with us and only wish we could have had the opportunity to address your challenges while you were in-country. Had you communicated your frustrations directly while you were still in Cape Town, we believe the outcome of your program experience would have been much different.

Despite our regularly documented check-ins, you indicated that everything was fine and did not share your internship concerns. Your Program Advisor set up an appointment and accompanied you to the doctor and yet again, you did not share this feedback with us. You also did not mention that you had chosen to stop attending your internship after only 2 days. Had we known, we could have assisted you with rectifying the challenges at your internship site or placed you somewhere entirely new.

The VACorps program has an open-door, 24-7 policy regarding support. We are disappointed you never chose to walk through our door to enlist the support of our accessible, knowledgeable and friendly program staff, who are always eager and willing to help interns find a desirable outcome when encountering challenges of any sort. We cannot assume you are unhappy unless you choose to communicate your feelings.

Again, we are very sorry to hear your experience in South Africa didn't pan out as you had hoped. If you wish to discuss your challenges at greater length, please feel free to reach out to any one of us. Our door remains open.

Best wishes,
The VACorps Team

Default avatar
Gabriela
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

VACorps -SA

This was an experience of a lifetime! I had the best time in Cape Town. My internship provided me with opportunities I would have otherwise not had without VACorps. I learned more than I could have ever imagined as a medical intern due to the fact that I got hands on experience as an undergrad student. On top of that, the friendships I made were incredible. The staff were always there and wanted us to explore. They helped us plan excursions and even sometimes came with us! I would go back in a heartbeat.

Default avatar
Tolu
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Intern

This was a lovely experience working at a Site B clinic in a township outside of Cape Town. My experience here really helped me grow and opened my eyes to what the medical field has to offer, especially in a lower income area. I worked with such an amazing staff of medical professionals and have gained so much knowledge that I will forever cherish. It was definitely an unforgettable experience that I will never forget.

Erika
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

VACorps

Although I chose an internship in Cape Town almost randomly, I have quickly fallen in love with the city and its way of life. As soon as you step outside your house, there is an incredible sense of culture. Besides the amazing cultures, food, hikes and people from here are truly incredible beings. Infact , I think I've made more friends just walking down the streets in OBS than I have at school in Michigan! and although I've only known most of my Cape Town friends for a few months , I couldn't imagine my life without them. They've made half way around the globe feel like home.

Working at the clinic in SiteB has taught me a lot about medicine, but much more about about myself. Learning how to make a backslab or suture a wound will definitely stick with me, but it is not the most valuable lesson that has impacted me. I have seen injuries here that would have been rushed into surgery back home, but due to the lack of resources, were asked to wait in the triage unit. Despite some of these unfortunate situations, the patients were almost always grateful for the help they have received. Not only has this taught me about the fortunes some of us have with insurance and access to private hospitals, but it has also opened my eyes to the opportunities of global health. Due to this experience, I am now looking into medical schools that offer a chance to become involved abroad.

Overall, I had an even better experience with VAC than I could ever hoped for . Already looking forward to the day I'll be able to came back and visit my amazing new friends here!

What would you improve about this program?
Perhaps having interns come and leave on a more regulated fashion.
Default avatar
Brianna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Site B Community Health Clinic, Khayelitsha

"I had the great opportunity to do my internship at the Site B Community Health Clinic in Khayelitsha. I spent most of my time in the Trauma Department, but I also was exposed to many different fields; such as, Maternity, OPD, HIV/TB clinic, Pediatrics, Triage, and Mental Health. Not only did I learn a tremendous amount of information from the doctors and sisters, but I also got to actively participate in a wide range of patient care skills--treating multiple stab wounds, cleaning and treating burn victims, HIV tests, vital signs, and the application and removal of casts. With the adverse conditions of the patients in Site B, I also learned many valuable patient care lessons that I had never been exposed to in the US. My internship with Site B far exceeded my expectations, and taught me a numerous amount of skills that I will take with me (as a hopeful PA) in the future. ---Brianna Starr

What would you improve about this program?
Everything about my internship was great. The only thing I can think of was that my house was very cold some nights and extra warm blankets could have come in handy.